Days of Change

Iowa 2016

February 1, 2016
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If there are 3 tickets out of Iowa, Ted Cruz, Donald Trump and Marco Rubio have them in near equal measure. Ben Carson has a ticket stub with 10% of the caucus vote. Projections are that Cruz won.

Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders are locked in a battle for first, and O’Malley is out. I suspect the half dozen Republicans below 2% are either going to drop out or be very broke very fast.

On to New Hampshire.


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I Stand With Cruz… Sort Of

January 31, 2016
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Long-suffering readers of this blog know that I was not a big fan of Mitt Romney and thought he would lose the 2012 election. Still, when he became Obama’s only opponent, I was all in for his victory. Of the “boring” 2012 filed, I picked the most boring of all, Scott Walker, because he was a master ninja when it came to handing the unions and Democrats their asses.

Then there’s Donald Trump. He’s rich, he’s liberal. He supported Democrats. He used the term “New York values” before Obama was even elected. By 2011, he seemed to be more interested in the Republican side of the street, offering to host a GOP debate and asking Obama for a birth certificate. Now, maybe the had an Obama conversion like some of the liberals turned Republican by the events of 9/11/01. He seems to be signing all the verses of the Tea Party song book even though no one claims to be a Tea Partier anymore.

Let’s flash forward to a yuge Trump victory. In this case, he could get 30% in Iowa and whatever delegates that equals. In New Hampshire, it’s also close to 30%. If the field thins out some more that percentage may go up to 40%. In the GOP’s infinite wisdom, the new “winner take all” process could give Trump enough delegates with only that 40%.

Here’s the problem. There are a lot of establishment types who scuttled races in 2010 because they hated the Tea Party. What if we have a candidate who wins while insulting 60% of the party? Trump is most popular among Republicans. If he can only get into the mid forties nationally, he’s toast against a single opponent. Ronald Reagan annoyed the establishment, but he was unusually popular with Democrats.

For the time being, I’d like to see Ted Cruz win Iowa or New Hampshire, or both. I want Trump to actually prove himself by facing adversity, rather than boycotting it. He’s gone from avoiding Iowa, to insulting Iowans to giving up on the state to holding big rallies in the state. He also quit the Republican Party in 2011 when no one wanted to go to his debate. Is he going to give up on America as president?


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2012 Redux

January 30, 2016
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One of the things that hurt the Tea Party in 2012 was that while they were opposed to most every Democrat and especially Obama, they also didn’t want to give money to the RNC or any national group. Big donors and billionaires had no problem contributing to groups like Karl Rove’s American Crossroads, who spent hundreds of millions with no measurable results.

The IRS made sure that any Tea Party group smaller than Tea Party Express would be unable to use their own funding in 2012. Instead, they went from candidate to candidate. When someone won a state primary, they were supported. As the harsh light of reality fell on them, another one was selected. This went on until Mitt Romney eventually won the nomination, as was predicted the whole time.

Now we have Donald Trump. He has money, but he doesn’t need to use it. He’s poised to get a plurality in many early contests. But, like 2012, he may see a succession of different #2 finishers in different states.

Bush has wasted the most money fighting Trump, followed by Rubio or Cruz, I’m not sure. If Trump does get the nomination, my guess is that many rank and file Tea Party members won’t work against him and won’t need to worry about financial contributions to Trump’s campaign. Would Trump need federal matching funds or any funds? Could he win on free media attention alone? If he does, he could create a recession in the media industry that relies on political ad revenue every few years. That would be something to see.


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Trump’s Millions

January 29, 2016
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The numbers are in, and Donald Trump is actually a clown for your amusement.

Last night’s Fox debate drew 12.5 million viewers. While that’s just over half the number from the first Fox debate, it’s about 5 million lower than the last Trump debate on CNN, which has a comparable number of households. Trump’s event scored a few million viewers overall, which means that maybe half the people who might have watched another Trump debate watched a Trump rally instead.

My interpretation (which is always subject to dispute) is that most people wanted to see a debate. Many people wanted to see Trump. Then, there the remainder who really only want to watch Trump debate other Republicans because he’s full of amusing boasts and insults toward other people on the stage.

Trump also announced that his show last night raised $6 million for wounded soldiers. He really raised $5 million because $1 million was his own money. This was a much more effective use of campaign contributions, since Jeb Bush blew about $100 million in ads that no one cared about.

I’m reminded of the subplot of “Brewster’s Millions” where Monty tries to buy an election, not for himself, but so that New York City doesn’t get a corrupt politician from either party. He was the only one who could make that happen. Many people feel that was about Donald Trump. He’s the only one who can break the hold of the two-party system. In reality, the last time there was a push for a None of the Above candidate, it helped draw away enough votes to get Harry Reid reelected in 2010. When you look for a shortcut to fix what’s wrong with the world, you get a shortcut.

 


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Holding Out for a Hero

January 28, 2016
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When the Republican Party didn’t really know what the hell they were doing, the Tea Party used popular opinion to secure a number of legislative positions in D.C. and the states, along with some governors to fight the one man band of Barack Obama. And it was all about Obama. Democrats knew full well they would likely lose their jobs by voting for Obamacare and only hoped they could get a cushy retirement gig after they ruined health care.

Not much changed in 2011 and 2012 and that was a good thing. Imagine what Obama could have done with another year or two of an unstoppable Democrat majority.Republicans ran without much Tea Party help (probably due to them looking the other way on IRS witch hunts) and found they barely kept the gains from 2010. The good news is that the GOP has made more attempts to bring rogue candidates into the fold. For some, the bad news is that Tea Party candidates become Republicans.

Now, we have one man with a history more intimate with the Democratic Party than the Republicans is running in the only open party slot for a job where he will negotiate, rather than join, the Republican Party. In fact, if the GOP isn’t nice to him, he wants to ignore the results of the convention and run as a third party candidate. The people who called themselves Tea Party seem to see him as the hero they were too lazy to create.

Trump supporters are looking for the Alpha Tea Party leader. He has the strong beliefs of the Tea Party but doesn’t require the messy consensus of different opinions for legislative results. Weakening his presumed allies is just as good as denigrating his opponents. It’s okay because they are corrupt and the Alpha is incorruptible.

If today’s Tea Party were around in Colonial times, it seems like they’d be happy with a king as long as he promised tax cuts and closed borders.


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Some Men Just Want to Watch the World Burn

January 27, 2016
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My people are so smart, and you know what else they say about my people, the polls? They say I have the most loyal people. Did you ever see that? Where I could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn’t lose any voters, OK? It’s like incredible.

-Donald Trump January 23, 2016

I assume most Trump supporters think he’s exaggerating for effect because they don’t want him to actually try it. He actually escalated his actions later by building up a conflict with Fox over someone who had bested him early on in the campaign. It seems suddenly that grumbling about Fox News’ content galvanized into this vendetta involving a corrupt news organization supposedly in bed with the GOP. It’s funny how Trump started by criticizing Obama and now benefits from the Media Matters song book.

The Republican Party (what’s left of it) is a big tent made up of factions that have been neglected in the 30 years since Ronald Reagan welcomed them. Libertarians are one of the few ‘conservative’ groups who have no love for Trump because they have beliefs and Trump fosters belief in him as a person and not Trump’s actual beliefs.

This is important because support for Donald Trump seems to fall into two categories. Some people want a strongman who will issue executive orders and bully deals that will get Congressmen to lose their seats. In other words, they want Barack Obama, but pursuing their agenda. Other people seem to like the idea of the system being taken down and an autocrat being in power. In other words, some men just want to watch the world burn.

After the Election of 2012, I wrote that it’s all over for America. Either we have a slow climb out or a slide into the abyss. We already had one president in the last decade who won on personality and sloganeering. If the rest of the country who didn’t support Obama now picks another guy based on the same things, representative democracy no longer holds a significant place in America’s consciousness.

Picking a benevolent dictator is the sign of a sick and dying society, not the sign of a society ready to renew itself. Germany was broken when they elected Adolf Hitler. Iran was broken when they elected the Ayatollah. In a government where debate and negotiation is welcome, people should complain about their lousy legislators and presidents. If a single man is what’s needed to “save the country”, that man is not going to save the country.

There are plenty of Republicans I don’t like for whom I still voted. If Trump is the nominee, I may have to vote for him over a Democrat. I won’t expect any more out of him than I did from Obama and I certainly won’t have any more hope for this country in November.


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Discretion

January 26, 2016
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One of the aspects of “big government” that is most disturbing to freedom is the level of prosecutorial discretion afforded by a large number of regulations. In short, almost everyone is guilty of some minor infraction, knowingly or not. The the state wants to target you, there are legal means to do so. Worse yet, even the process of taking you to court can damage you financially.

Today, the founders of the Center for Medical Progress were indicted in a Texas court for tampering with a government record. That record most likely is a Driver License. It’s a real crime, but one that millions of teenagers are not arrested for. This was not used for either driving or getting on an airplane, either. And this indictment happened in Texas, where Ted Cruz is from. Imagine what would have happened in New York.

The sickest irony is that David Daleiden of CMP was also indicted for buying fetal tissue. Planned Parenthood was not indicted for selling. In what world does that happen? Probably the one where the prosecutor’s office has a member on a Planned Parenthood board.


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Obama Wants Trump Nominated

January 25, 2016
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My dislike of Donald Trump is why I didn’t think other people would support him in the numbers they have. The fact is, I don’t like many of the guys who run from president. I didn’t like Clinton. I didn’t like Gore. I certainly didn’t like Edwards. I didn’t want Romney to be the nominee, but I thought he would be much better than Obama. I supported McCain-Palin for Palin.

I have problems with Trump’s campaign because it’s based on a cult of personality (actually charismatic authority) and that kind of leadership tends to signal the end of a civilization, not the renewal of it. I’m also concerned that a political neophyte like Trump has no idea of what the Democratic Party can do to him in a general election. None of this is alleviated by today’s Politico story.

Barack Obama had this to say about Trump, but not using his name.

You think about it: When I ran against John McCain, John McCain and I had real differences, sharp differences, but John McCain didn’t deny climate science, John McCain didn’t call for banning Muslims from the United States.

Obama is clearly drawing a line between John McCain (GOPe favorite and conservative pincushion) and the kind of people who would ban Muslims (Trump). It is an anti-endorsement, a way to show everyone who hates Obama that he fears Trump most of all. Also, Obama knows that his actual support loses elections and his disdain may do the opposite.

If Obama really wants Trump to get the nomination, he obviously thinks Trump is an easy target. He may be wrong, but I assume his dumb ass is backed up by the same Democratic Party operatives who got Obama elected.


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No-Easter

January 24, 2016
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Just to confirm that I don’t live in the “Northeast,” I was completely spared from the ravages of the snow apocalypse this weekend. It’s kind of ironic that Bernie Sanders and DC liberals were complaining about the unseasonable, but still reasonable, El Nino warm spell in December. Now they get to freeze their maracas off in a pile of snow.


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And Now, Glenn Beck

January 23, 2016
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We’re still about two weeks from New Hampshire primaries and it seems like a two-man race already for the Republicans. For the Democrats, it’s one man and a woman who is in both a precarious legal and voter support position. In the war between Donald Trump and Ted Cruz, Glenn Beck is on team Ted.

Obviously, Beck isn’t your first choice as a supporter. He serves as a defense against Palin’s support of Trump. More people listen to Beck than Palin on a daily basis, and getting him as a supporter also moves that loyal audience from candidates like Mike Huckabee who has no real chance of getting the nomination. At the same time, there are some people who would have voted for Cruz had Trump been hit by a bus who will no longer do so because of Glenn Beck.

Here’s what I find ironic. Glenn Beck is generally considered a nut because he talks about what the government is doing to us, wants to take us back to the good old days and eschewed the media to create his own empire. Those are all hallmarks of the Trump campaign.

 


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